As the modern workplace takes hold, companies rely on much more technology than ever before. We’re in the age of 24/7 connectivity, remote working, and fast turnaround demands on everything we’re working on. Most of which are centered around using technology. As we know, lots of tech, means plenty of room for mishaps, maintenance, and long on-boarding times. The typical IT department has had to quickly adapt just to keep the business running. Although it has quickly adapted to the demand and speed, most IT departments have adapted at the expense of proper strategic planning and scaling. The teams are often treated as cost centers, order takers, and generally not invited to table when it comes to project selection. The pipelines are full, but requests are scattered all over, so it’s hard to get visibility on what the workload really looks like, and who currently “has the ball.”
There are several situational challenges prominent in IT Demand Management, but I wanted to dive into the top five that we most often see IT practitioners dealing with and what we see as a resolution. For each of the five common IT demand management challenges covered in this article, I’ll cover the “situation” (how it usually shows up), the “pain” that it causes IT staff, and the “wish” (solution). Do any of these sound-like challenges in your IT department?
Business is moving quickly and often requests for the IT department are coming from several different directions, and in several different formats. When this happens, it becomes problematic to manage demand for IT services.
The Situation: Each department in a company may have a different way of sending a request into the IT Department. It could be in the form of an email with varying degrees of details and attachments, a phone call, through an online ticketing system, or it may even be a knock on the door.
The Pain: There’s no consistent process for each department to send in requests which can often lead to requests frequently coming through in various formats and having to be managed manually, misusing staff time. Multiple systems to collect, track, and resolve IT requests can make it difficult to achieve process compliance and frequently leads to policy exceptions. This can also lead to projects being unprioritized or being approved for the wrong reasons, but we’ll dive into that later.
The Wish: Wouldn’t it be nice to have a digitized IT Demand Management solution that allows all requests to come through one portal based on compliance with business policies and regulations (such as SOX). One tool that can collect, organize, score, and prioritize what’s in your IT department’s pipeline.
As part of the business, everything IT provides must have real business value. IT provides value by maintaining the value of existing services and functions it provides, eliminating services that are no longer of value, and by creating new value.
The Situation: IT doesn’t have an established process to govern benefits realization and struggles to demonstrate how it provides value from its investments. The IT department is usually left out of strategic planning meetings, which can leave their insight out of the big picture planning.
The Pain: It’s difficult for the IT department to advocate their value when they’re not included in the strategic planning and making sure their projects will deliver on those long-term plans. Not including IT in the planning can also result in miscalculated expenses. IT is often treated as a cost center to manage.
The Wish: Being able to understand the value framework will allow IT to articulate where the IT budget supports business value, and how it enables overall business goal achievement.
With business moving quickly and IT requests coming from several different departments, projects may be selected based on the sponsor and not necessarily based on the right reasons. Pointing back to the inconsistent processes problem, these two issues usually go hand-in-hand.
The Situation: Lacking a consistent process for project approval/business cases can waste a lot of time and cause bad projects to be approved. Even worse, projects may get approved based on office politics or to quiet the squeaky wheel.
The Pain: Project requests are often scattered and not always tied to overall business strategy nor capacity levels. This can put a lot of strain on the IT workload while not always creating the right value or results. This also often leads to projects being funded for implementation, but very little focus on getting a realistic view into the funding required to maintain the project year-over-year. This specific issue is often tied into communication as well; we’ll cover that shortly.
The Wish: A system that allows IT to be involved in the project approval processes. Preventing problematic projects from being approved and communicating capacity levels. A process that brings IT’s insight into how the project will need to be maintained once it’s been delivered since IT has the best insight into the hours and costs involved.
IT requests and projects are often scattered which makes it hard to see what’s in the IT pipeline and to show others what projects have been completed. More times than not, the company does not have a clear picture of what IT is working on and vice versa.
The Situation: When there’s inconsistent processes and systems to manage requests and projects, it leads to problems seeing what projects are being worked on and who’s working on them. It also makes it almost impossible to see past and future projects, and the business impact they will have.
The Pain: It’s not apparent if staff are working on the projects with the highest business priority. It’s hard to see what’s in the IT pipeline and to show others what projects have been completed, all in one place. Tracking and reporting service levels for responding and completing requests is difficult.
The Wish: A consolidated view that allows all stakeholders and producers to see all projects past, present, and future. A system that gives the business accountability of every resource allocated, and a view of every application in development/production. Enterprise-wide clarity around IT benefits, staffing, and resource allocation, so that project expectations are more realistic.
The IT department needs an integrated space to communicate with the rest of the business units.
The Situation: Business users and IT need a way to communicate around what’s in the pipeline and how-to bring value to the business.
The Pain: Business units and IT never seem to be on the same page. IT has trouble communicating data, constraints, and status reports quickly and easily.
The Wish: An easy to use collaboration feature that allows IT and business users to work together on projects at every step, cutting costs and fast-tracking results.
The rise of technology in the workplace has made the IT department busier than ever. Most IT departments have scrambled to keep up, understandably, but at the cost of proper IT demand management. It’s time for the IT department to catch up and implement the same level of sophistication and technology that the rest of the business uses to get work done. This will result in better planning and massive resource savings. Tools that are simple and easy to use, with short onboarding periods allow the IT department to quickly implement and start using without a major disruption to their workload.
At edison365, we pride ourselves in providing simple to use solutions for IT demand management. Want to know more? Talk to our team.